Blackwell's book store oxford

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Oxford Book Store


Among the many attractions that Oxford, England, boasts, the Blackwell’s Bookstore Oxford stands out as a beacon for bibliophiles. Established in 1879, this store has been a favourite destination for those who cherish the written word.

Oxford books best place to buy student books

The Establishment of Blackwell's

Founded by Benjamin Henry Blackwell, the Blackwell’s bookstore on Broad Street quickly expanded from its original twelve square feet to occupy the upstairs, cellar, and neighbouring shops in Oxford. This expansion was a testament to the popularity of Blackwell’s as a local bookstore and its founder, Basil Blackwell’s commitment to providing excellent service to the local community.

Growth and Expansion

Blackwells book shop expansion

Blackwell’s expansion didn’t stop at Oxford. From the early 1990s, the company ventured beyond and established a chain of 18 Blackwell’s bookshops across the UK. This move, driven by the family’s vision of making books accessible to a broader audience, made it a prominent bookshop in the UK. But it is the Blackwell’s Oxford shop that was the first and stand out shop and still remains the most bookshop

Speciality Shops and Services

Blackwell’s offers more than just books. The Broad Street branches, for instance, include specialty music and art/poster shops. In addition to its retail operations, Blackwell’s, known as an Oxford bookseller, also provides an accounts and library supply service, catering to the needs of libraries and institutions.The broad street store also has a cafe on the upper floor. You can visit this and many other places on an oxford city tour with a professional tour guide 

Blackwells oxford changing with the times

Blackwell's Online Presence

The digital age saw Blackwell’s Bookshop oxford pioneering the online book retail industry. In 1995, it became the first UK online book shop to offer its customers the option to purchase from a catalogue of over 150,000 titles online. This move further cemented Blackwell’s position as a leader in the online book shops industry.

The Norrington Room

Norington room at blackwells bookstore

A special mention must be made of the Norrington Room at Blackwell’s book store in Oxford. Opened in 1966 and named after Sir Arthur Norrington, the President of Trinity College, this room is a bibliophile’s paradise. It boasts three miles of shelving and at 10,000 square feet, has earned an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest single room selling books.

Awards and Recognition

Blackwells book store oxford

Both the Oxford and London flagship shops of Blackwell’s have won the coveted title of Bookseller of the Year at the British Book Awards. This recognition is a testament to Blackwell’s commitment to providing an unparalleled shopping experience for its customers, making it a prominent member of the bookshop UK association.

Employee-Partnership Model

blackwells books employee partnership

In 2009, Toby Blackwell announced that the wealth shares of the Blackwell’s company would be distributed among the staff, transforming Blackwell’s into an employee-partnership model similar to that of retailer John Lewis. This move was aimed at ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability and profitability.

Acquisition by Waterstones

In a significant development in February 2022, the UK book chain Waterstones, bought Blackwell’s. This acquisition marked the end of the Blackwell family’s direct involvement with the company. Waterstones also has a bookstore oxford Blackwells Oxford is located at one end of broad street and the waterstones bookstore is located at the opposite end of broad street


Blackwell’s Oxford Bookstore is more than just a store; it’s an institution that has served the literary needs of the UK for over a century. With its rich history, expansive collection, and commitment to providing excellent service, Blackwell’s remains a must-visit destination for book lovers in Oxford and beyond, making it one of the prominent bookstores in Oxford.

External Links

More information visit 

“Blackwell’s Bookstore is a treasure trove for book lovers.”


  1. Sky News. (2022, February 1). Family-owned bookseller Blackwell’s in shop window for first time in 143 years.
  2. Broad Street Oxford. (2022). 48 – 51 Broad Street, Oxford.
  3. The Guardian. (2022, February 28). Waterstones acquires Blackwell’s, the UK’s biggest independent bookseller.


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